Headline Recruiting Sports Agents Sports Law

“One Of These Agents Is Going To Go To Jail Because Of A Felony”

Raymond Lee Savage Jr., the former CEO and President of Savage Sports Management was an All-American linebacker at the University of Virginia.  He has negotiated over 60 player contracts as a player agent.

Savage Jr. was arrested and taken into custody in October 2008 for allegedly having a part in the illegal contact of former University of Alabama wide-receiver, Tyrone Prothro, while Prothro was in college.  One of his employees also failed to adhere to the state of Alabama’s athlete agent registration requirements.

Savage Jr. plead not guilty to both charges for which he was accused: 1) Not registering as an athlete-agent in Alabama (felony); and 2) Initiating contact with a student-athlete (misdemeanor).  The state of Alabama dropped the misdemeanor charge, but the felony charge remained.

However, just a couple of days ago a judge issued a writ of arrest for Savage Jr. for failure to appear in court for the a reduced charge of the felony count.  The excuse offered to the judge was that Savage Jr. could not leave his home in Virginia due to health problems.  The judge did not buy it, and Alabama’s Assistant Attorney General is very displeased.

Assistant Attorney General Don Valeska said Savage had agreed to plead to a misdemeanor with a $2,000 fine. Under the plea, Savage would have been restricted from traveling into Alabama, banned from dealing with any athletes from the state, and required not to contact Prothro or any witnesses, Valeska said.

“Now we may take that deal off the table and just try it in front of a jury as a felony,” Valeska said. “We’ll be arresting him hopefully tonight. We’re going to put him in the national computer and if he’s stopped for a traffic stop, he’s going to be arrested and transferred down here to county jail.”

If Alabama treats an agent this way for having one of his employees recruit a student-athlete without being properly licensed as an athlete-agent in the state, imagine what the the State of Alabama would do to a guy like Gary Wichard, should he be found guilty of the state’s athlete-agent laws.  And what if Marcell Dareus had contact with a sports agent who was not registered in the state of Alabama and/or accepted an illegal benefit from an agent?

“At the appropriate time, one of these agents is going to go to jail because of a felony, but this one [Savage Jr.] we didn’t feel was the case based on the facts,” Valeska said. “We want the message to go out that nobody comes to Alabama without following the law and talks to college athletes about going pro.”

Valeska’s words remind me of something I once read from Mike Trope, author of Necessary Roughness and former NFLPA agent.  He said, “[Don’t] ever represent any player that is a resident or goes to school in the state of Alabama. I am not an agent anymore, but I wouldn’t do it.”

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.